5 Facts About Extreme Poverty in Nepal

Nepal is a beautiful country of vast, mountainous landscapes and people representing diverse ethnic cultures. But poverty, even to extreme levels, is widespread in Nepal. We hope that after learning more about poverty in Nepal, you would consider joining us in our mission to bring help and hope to the hidden and hurting there.

1. Although Nepal has shown remarkable poverty reduction over time, about 25% of the nation still lives below the poverty line.

In 2015, Nepal was struck with a magnitude 7.8 earthquake. There were many aftershocks, and another major earthquake also occurred just 17 days later. These disasters left many with nothing and increased the extreme poverty rate. The earthquake destroyed much of the land, ruining one of the main income generators the Nepalese people had: agriculture.

Income generation is one of the first steps in ending extreme poverty, and one area of transformation as part of Global Hope Network International (GHNI)’s Transformational Community Development (TCD) method. GHNI has started loan programs in some villages in Nepal. After a Nepalese woman received one of these microloans, she was able to increase her tea sales from 50 cups a day to 200 cups a day. Not only did this repay back the loan, but it also covered her family expenses, including education for her children.

 

2. Access to high-quality education is minimal, and the overall literacy rate stays around 65%.

The quality of education remains low in Nepal because so many teachers are not well-educated themselves. Attendance is another factor, with children falling ill or their families needing an extra pair of hands to help with chores and additional income.

With the help of national partners, GHNI is reaching out to six villages via a primary school located in Godavari Village. They are helping to give lessons on topics including human trafficking awareness, health issues, and many more. They also continue to improve the relationships between teachers and the community, and they have seen an improvement in attendance.

 

3. Women and young girls have to travel hours to access clean water.

Most of us in the West take for granted our ability to readily access clean, safe water. But for many people in developing nations, including Nepal, there is limited or no access to clean water.

Unsafe water leads to illness, sometimes fatal. So in Nepal, women and young girls are often tasked with retrieving clean water, which could be hours from where they live. This often puts them at risk of being trafficked, and it also keeps the young girls from attending school.

As part of its TCD lessons, GHNI field staff teach locals in Nepal about the importance of clean drinking water and disease prevention. GHNI also helps villages with access to water by partnering with village leaders to dig wells.

 

4. Only 46% of the population has access to basic sanitation; 30% still practice open defecation.

As in many poor areas of the world, access to sanitation is a major issue for many villages in Nepal. Many do not have access to toilets and therefore use open defecation, which leads to many diseases, some being fatal.

GHNI has worked in the villages of Nepal and educated them about health issues that result from using open toilet systems. Now that the people realize it is very important to use a proper toilet, construction of latrines in partnership with the Village Development Committee is underway.

 

5. Nepal is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.

Many people in Nepal are subjected to forced labor in construction, factories, mines, domestic work, and begging. Some women agree to arranged marriages through companies to men in other countries, but these companies are fraudulent and the women end up in domestic slavery situations. Nepalese parents sometimes give their children to brokers under false promises of education and work opportunities; but instead, the children are taken to unregistered children’s homes in cities, where they are forced to act as orphans and illicit donations from tourists.

GHNI understands the importance of fighting against human trafficking and preventing slavery. Villagers in areas where trafficking is prevalent are advised on how to avoid these kinds of situations. In one village, women and girls had to walk two hours to the nearest clean water well. The path led through a thick forest filled with predators -- not just wild animals, but also men involved with trafficking operations. It was not uncommon for the women to leave the house early to collect water, and then never return home. GHNI partnered with the village leaders to build wells and water pumps locally so the women would not be at risk anymore.

 

— Kelsey Schupp
GHNI Guest Writer